Mendoza, Argentina – It is time for Round 2 of The Rugby Championship. After some sloppy but good spirited matches in Round 1, we expect the intensity to lift in Round 2. Meanwhile, another major event occurring this weekend is the RWC 7s qualifer – the NACRA 7s in Ottawa, Canada. With that, let’s get to the previews of the matches and tournaments.
Head Coach: Steve Hansen
Captain: Richie McCaw
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ma’a Nonu, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith
Date: Saturday, August 25
Kick-off: 19:35 (07.35 GMT; 09.35 SA time)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Head Coach: Robbie Deans
Captain: Will Genia
15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (c), 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements(To Be Confirmed):
16 Saia Faingaa, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Nick Phipps, 21 Kurtley Beale 22 Drew Mitchell.
Analysis: As predicted, the injury toll is already being felt. Australia will be without their first-choice captain and starting number 7, David Pocock. They will also be without 2/3rds of their front row with both tighthead prop, Sekope Kefu and hooker, Tatafu Polota Nau. Considering their unimpressive start in the first match – which was at home – we don’t see the Aussies winning in Eden Park. That’s even if the Blackness are without starting loose-head Tony Woodcock.
Head Coach: Heynecke Meyer
Captain: Jean De Villiers
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht
Head Coach: Santiago Phelan
Captain: Juan Fernandez Lobbe
15 Martín Rodríguez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (c), 7 Álvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farías Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Leonardo Senatore, 19 Tomás Leonardi, 20 Martín Landajo, 21 Lucas González Amorosino, 22 Juan Imhoff.
Date: Saturday, August 25
Venue: Malvinas Argentinas Stadium
Kick-off: 16:10 (19:10 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Argentinian appointment, to be annouced
Analysis: Argentina will be making a calculated change at fullback while an injury forces a fly half chane. Yet, there is still no Bustos-Moyano of the Class of 2012. The thought here is that although the Argies will perform better in front of a home crowd and the Springboks will be missing star hooker Bismarck Du Plessis – and making one change in the backrow – we can’t see South Africa losing. The Argies are getting better but still boast no threat in the attack.
NACRA 7s – NACRA is the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association. They will be holding their qualifiers for the RWC 7s this weekend. The Top 2 qualify for the RWC7s in Russia. 3rd gets to play in Hong Kong next year.
When: August 25-26
Where: Ottawa, Canada
Venue: Twin Elm Rugby Park
Trinidad & Tobago
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Analysis Believe or not, Guyana are the defending Champions and have won this tournament 6 times altogether. However, they are in tough financial times and can’t pick their best side. (Click their hyperlink). That said, I think it will be Canada in first, USA in 2nd and Trinidad & Tobago 3rd. You can follow the discussion between myself, Nick “Bones” Attewell, Mike “Goey” Holzman and others – here.